Saratoga County

Northway bridge work to impact Saratoga track traffic

When Saratoga Race Course opens Friday, track patrons using Northway Exit 14 will find themselves de

When Saratoga Race Course opens Friday, track patrons using Northway Exit 14 will find themselves dealing with closed and narrowed travel lanes because of a bridge reconstruction project.

The $5.7 million replacement of the Route 9P-Union Avenue bridge over the Northway has residents and business owners buzzing about the potential for bigger-than-usual traffic headaches during track season.

State Department of Transportation officials said the length of the project makes work during track season unavoidable, but the aging bridge needs to be replaced.

Exit 14 is one of the primary routes people use to reach the thoroughbred track. Opening day and the 40 days of racing that follow will bring thousands of additional drivers up the Northway. The concern is that many of them won’t be aware of changes caused by the construction work.

State officials said the 50-year-old bridge needs replacement due to its age and related concrete deterioration. They said they have no choice but to work during track season.

Maintaining two traffic lanes into the city is intended to keep traffic flowing as smoothly as possible, Breen said. After track season ends on Labor Day, the bridge will be reduced to one travel lane in each direction while work continues over the winter.

The current bridge, with its six support columns, is going to be replaced with a bridge with a single support column in the median and longer spans of steel girder. The current bridge opened in 1960, during the original construction of the Northway.

The bridge will be replaced while remaining open to traffic. Breen said all traffic will be channeled onto one half of the bridge while the other half is demolished and replaced, then traffic will be moved to the new half while the older half is replaced.

The project, being done by Bette & Cring of Latham, is due to be completed before the start of the 2012 track season.

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